Devo Guitarist Bob Casale Dead at 61

He formed New Wave band with brother Gerald in 1970

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 18, 2014 2:26 PM CST

(Newser) – "Whip It" fans, sorry for the news: Devo guitarist Bob Casale died yesterday of heart failure at age 61, Rolling Stone reports. He helped form the New Wave band with his brother Gerald in 1973 and stayed on board for decades: "Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning," said Gerald in a statement. "He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got." Gerald said Bob was excited about performing with Devo again, and his death "came as a total shock to us all."

The original Devo members, who grew up in Akron, Ohio, formed the band after personally witnessing the 1970 Kent State Massacre. "We came of age in the middle of a huge cultural war," said Bob in an Under the Radar interview two years ago. "This country was basically in the midst of a new civil war—the lines were drawn very clearly." The band had a hit in 1980 with "Whip It," broke up in 1991, got back together five years later, and toured for years after. Their name was based on the idea of "de-evolution"—that people were devolving into a mass-herd mentality. "De-evolution happened and now everybody agrees," Gerald told CNN. "They don't think we're crazy. They know that it was true."

Devo in Atlanta, Ga., on Dec. 27, 1978. Back left: Alan Meyers. Front, left to right: Guitarist Bob Casale and bassist Gerald Casale
Devo in Atlanta, Ga., on Dec. 27, 1978. Back left: Alan Meyers. Front, left to right: Guitarist Bob Casale and bassist Gerald Casale   (Wikimedia Commons)
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